Monday, December 9, 2013

Scott Pilgrim's World: Kung-Fu and Coming of Age for Savage Worlds

 

Scott Pilgrim’s World

I’m a poseur.  I haven’t read the original Scott Pilgrim comics by Bryan Lee O’Malley and all I’ve played of the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World video game is the free preview.  In my defense, I saw the movie in the theater on opening weekend, I bought it on Blu-Ray on the day it was released, and I own all of the soundtrack albums.  It’s not like I’m not a Scott Pilgrim fan; it’s just that I’m not a super-über-megafan.

The thing is: I get Scott Pilgrim.  I have been Scott Pilgrim.  I have been a shitty boyfriend when I thought I was the nicest guy on Earth.  I have dated (“used” would probably be a more accurate word) a girl too young for me because it was easier than making myself a better man.  I have found true love with a woman with a lot of baggage and fought like hell to keep her.  I may have never been in a band and I may have played Sega instead of Nintendo, but I have lived Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Scott Pilgrim’s World is a Savage Worlds setting in which the simmering misery of daily life can boil over into a side-scrolling fighting game – where an argument with your ex can turn into a real-life round of Street Fighter II or a bad job interview can end with a Mortal Kombat fatality.  If Buffy the Vampire Slayer took “high school is hell” and made the monsters the metaphors for life’s tribulations, then in Scott Pilgrim’s World life is a battle and you must be prepared to FIGHT!

The setting takes its cues from anime, manga, and Japanese video games but your game can be set anywhere.  Play yourselves and battle the terrible bosses, crappy co-workers, moronic customers, and lousy drivers you have to deal with everyday.  Idealize your college days and retell your lives with all the awesome sexy hookups and counterculture cred you wished you lived.  Put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and play a game of love, loss, laughter, and Hadokens in a life you’ve never lived.  Cue up your favorite video game soundtrack or Canadian alternative band and get ready to rock.

Streets of Bedlam, the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion, and Savage Worlds Pulp Gm’s Toolkit are recommended but optional.

Races
Arguably, all characters should be human, but let’s face it: life is weird.  That irritating co-worker who does everything with inhuman precision and perfection might just be a cyborg (as android) and that sexy bad girl might be a cat-girl (rakasha).  It’s up to you.

Skills
Since it’s a modern setting, all skills are permitted.  If you want to have a secondary theme to the game – like all the characters are members of garage bands or art students or role-playing gamers – then feel free to introduce that as a specialized Knowledge skill (or link it to a different attribute; Scott’s bass-playing is probably more linked to Agility than Smarts).

Hindrances
All Savage Worlds Deluxe Hindrances are allowed.

Edges
All player characters receive the Adept Edge and its related prerequisites FOR FREE (see Setting Rules).  All other Savage Worlds Deluxe Edges are allowed though some might be relatively useless.

  New Edge: Get a Life (Weird)
  Requirements: Wild Card, Seasoned.
  You’ve earned another life!  If your character is killed, you can activate this new life and resume play as if no harm has come to the character.  (If this is a duet game, then you should really start the session over, but that would be a bitch in a multiplayer game.)  This Edge may be taken once per rank.

Gear
All Medieval and Modern gear is allowed.  This is a setting about modern daily life skewed through lens of 8-bit fighting games, though, so GMs should discourage military weapons and armor.  If a player can make a really good case for it, feel free to let them buy Futuristic gear.

Setting Rules
All player characters (and most Wild Card NPCs) in Scott Pilgrim’s World are Adepts.  Every single danged PC gets – FOR FREE – the Adept Edge, Arcane Background: Miracles, the Martial Artist Edge, Faith at d8, and Fighting at d8.  It’s just an underlying truism of the setting that even the most innocuous schmuck can suddenly start churning out the flying kicks and Shoryukens if pushed far enough.  Deal with it.

Faith for Scott Pilgrim’s World PCs reflects their faith in themselves and their own dreams and ideals rather than service to an external deity (unless you want to play a religious type who defines himself through his religion).  Players should take a few minutes to write a list of “dos and don’ts” for their characters’ motivations and GMs might want to consider adopting the rule from earlier editions of Savage Worlds where screwing up on your Faith roll means you’ve committed a sin (translated in this case to mean a crisis of conscience or a moment of self-doubt).

Vegan characters who take the Vow (Major) Hindrance may be built using the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion instead of Savage Worlds Deluxe (being vegan just makes you a better person).  Vegan characters don’t receive the Adept Edge and its prerequisites for free – they don’t need it – but they do get Martial Artist and Fighting at d8.  Being vegan is tough; if a character breaks vegan edge by indulging in eggs, meat, or milk three times, he is busted by the Vegan Police and loses all of the Abilities and Edges purchased with his Super Powers… FOREVER!

The Roles rules from Streets of Bedlam are highly recommended.

The following setting rules from Savage Worlds Deluxe are in effect: Bllod & Guts, Born a Hero, Critical Failures, Fanatics, High Adventure, and Joker’s Wild.

Powers
There is nothing to prevent a character from having more than one Arcane Background.  Matthew Patel, for instance, obviously too AB: Magic as well as the Miracles that came with being a Scott Pilgrim character.  Power points from additional Arcane Backgrounds must be tracked (and purchased) separately.

Bestiary
Unfortunately, there aren’t much in the way of NPC archetypes in Savage Worlds Deluxe and pretty much every modern-day Savage Worlds supplement is an homage to Sin City instead of Scott Pilgrim.  Funny enough, the Savage Worlds Pulp Gm’s Toolkit has an awesome list of more-or-less modern NPC archetypes that can be reskinned pretty easily; there are actors, athletes, journalists, and martial artists as well as many goofier pulp figures like big game hunters and mad scientists.

Inspiration
The various incarnations of Scott Pilgrim, obviously, but also:
FLCL (anime & manga)
Ranma 1/2 (anime & manga)
Sengoku Basara (anime, manga, & video game)
Kill Bill vols. 1 & 2 (film)
Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, & The World's End (film)

Other people's versions
Putting the Savage(Worlds) in our Heroes: Scott Pilgrim
The Savage World of Scott Pilgrim

6 comments:

  1. Normally, I ban the Adept Edge from my Savage Worlds games on account of it being a lame and unimaginative attempt to recreate the AD&D monk. But in this case, I have to congratulate you for finding a creative and setting-appropriate use for it.

    Now here's the big question. How would you know when a player has scored enough points to pull a flaming sword out of themselves?

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    Replies
    1. Even in Savage Worlds, some rewards should be story-based rewards. :)

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  2. I've wondered why nobody adapted Scott Pilgrim to an rpg--and now someone has. You should check out the comic, though.

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    Replies
    1. I'm actually not the first person to attempt it for Savage Worlds (I should really link to those pages from here).

      (Hangs head in shame) I keep meaning to get to the comics...

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    2. I have to come in here for the comics. I'm onthe fifth one now and they're amazing. I have been looking for a way to do Scott Pilgrim and this is fairly solid! Awesome!

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    3. Thanks, Kristastic. It was fun to do!

      Delete

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